September 26, 2018 7:08 PM
The deadline was extended, then extended again, to get an agreement to proceed agreeable to all owners of the new nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle. Some background on the issue can be found here, but the long and short is that the non-Georgia Power owners wanted some assurance of a cost cap, and Oglethorpe Power (supplier to many of Georgia’s EMC’s) voted Monday night to proceed only with a cap.
This set off rounds of meetings and negotiations, with deadlines being set then extended. The parties came to a resolution this afternoon which appears to have included some safeguards against escalating construction costs. Details are sparse, but Georgia Power’s statement reads in part:
“We are all pleased to have reached an agreement and to be moving forward with the construction of Vogtle Units 3 & 4 which is critical to Georgia’s energy future,” said the co-owners. “While there have been and will be challenges throughout this process, we remain committed to a constructive relationship with each other and are focused on reducing project risk and fulfilling our commitment to our customers.”
In connection with the votes to continue construction, all four of the co-owners agreed to finalize and execute definitive agreements which helps mitigate financial exposure for each of them. The details are contained in Georgia Power’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed today.
The new units are the first to be built in the United States in more than 30 years and the only new nuclear units currently under construction in America. Expected on-line in November 2021 (Unit 3) and November 2022 (Unit 4), the new units are expected to generate enough emission-free electricity to power approximately 500,000 homes and businesses.
Today, Vogtle 3 & 4 is the largest jobs-producing construction project in the state of Georgia, employing more than 7,000 workers from across the country, with more than 800 permanent jobs available once the units begin operating. Progress and productivity continue to improve, illustrated by multiple recent achievements such as the placement of the first steam generator and both accumulators – a key component of the AP1000 reactor safety system – inside the Unit 4 containment vessel.
Additionally, an AP1000 unit in China reached its final technical milestone last week, which will allow the unit to enter commercial operations. Three more AP1000 units are in full testing and will reach commercial operation soon.